94th Congress 1
2d Session /
THE "IMMIGRATION AND NATIONALITY
ACT AMENDMENTS OF 1976"
A SUMMAKY AND EXPLANATION
COMMITTEE ON THE JUDICIARY
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
1918 £ §
Printed for the use of the House Committee on the Judiciary
U.S. GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE
WASHINGTON : 1976
COMMITTEE OX THE JUDICIARY
PETER Wi RODINO, Jr., New Jersey, Chairman
JACK BROOKS, Texas
ROBERT W. KASTENMEIER, Wisconsin
DON EDWARDS, California
WILLIAM L. HUNGATE, Missouri
JOHN CONYER3, Jr., Michigan
JOSHUA EILBERO, Pennsylvania
WALTER FLOWERS, Alabama
JAMES R. MANN, South Carolina
PAUL S. SARBANES, Maryland
JOHN F. SEIBERLING, Ohio
GEORGE E. DANIELSON, California
ROBERT F. DRINAN, Massachusetts
BARBARA JORDAN, Texas
ELIZABETH HOLTZMAN, New York
EDWARD MEZYINSKY, Iowa
HERMAN BADILLO, New York
ROMANO L. MAZZOLI, Kentucky
EDWARD W. PATTISON, New York
CHRISTOPHER J. DODD, Connecticut
WILLIAM J. HUGHES, New Jersey
EDWARD HUTCHINSON, Michigan
ROBERT McCLORY, Illinois
TOM RAILSBACK, Illinois
CHARLES E. WIGGINS, California
HAMILTON FISH, Jr., New York
M. CALDWELL BUTLER, Virginia
WILLIAM S. COHEN, Maine
CARLOS J. MOORHEAD, California
JOHN M. ASHBROOK, Ohio
HENRY J. HYDE, Illinois
THOMAS N. KINDNESS, Ohio
Earl C. Dudley, Jr., General Counsel
Garner J. Cline, Staff Director
Herbert Fuchs, Counsel
William P. Shattuck, Counsel
Alan A. Parker, Counsel
Maurice A. Barroza, Counsel
Arthur P. Enures, Jr., Cou
Thomas W. Hutchison, Counsel
Daniel L. Cohen, Counsel
Franklin G. Polk, Counsel
as E. Mooney, Counsel
der B. Cook, Counsel
Coffey, Jr., Counsel
BBNNIT& N. Klee, Counsel
R n iond V. Smietanka, Counsel
J HOMAS M. Boyd, Counsel
.Subcommittee on J^luigration, Citizen ihip,
«..•• - JOSJiUAEILBERG, Pennsylvani
and Intebnationai Law
PAUL M ' land
ELIZA WAN, New York
CHRISTOPHER J. DODD. Connecticut
, Pennsylvania, Chairman
HAMILTON FISH, Ji!., New York
WILLIAM S. COHEN, Maine
QaJLNXRJ. ("line, Counsel
Artip k I'. Lm-kks, Jr., Counsel
JAMB I A. ZaBBO, A$*itlMi Counsel
AlJBXANDXB H. Cook, Associate Counsel
On October 20, 1976 the President signed into law (Public Law
94-571), a bill (H.R. 14535) which I introduced, to bring our immi-
gration procedures for the Western Hemisphere into conformity with
those in effect for the Eastern Hemisohere following enactment of the
Act of October 3, 1965 (66 Stat. 163),
In approving the 1965 amendments to the Immigration and Nation-
ality Act, Congress repealed the offensive "national origins" s}^stem
of immigration which placed primary emphasis on a person's place
of birth. The 1965 law also placed a numerical ceiling of 120,000 on
Western Hemisphere immigration but failed to establish a mechanism
for distributing visas under that ceiling. As a result, intending immi-
grants from the Western Hemisphere were forced to apply for visas
on a first-come, first-served basis and no consideration was given to
their family ties to persons already in the United States.
To rectify this unintended situation, this new law extends, with
minor modifications, the existing preference system, which places top
priority on family reunification, and the 20,000 per country limitation
(both currently in effect in the Eastern Hemisphere) to the countries
of the Western Hemisphere. Other provisions in Public Law 94-571
are also designed to equalize immigration policy and procedures
between the Eastern and Western Hemisphere. I am hopeful that we
will ultimately adopt a worldwide ceiling on immigration rather than
the separate hemispheric ceilings of 170,000 for the Eastern Hemis-
phere and 120,000 for the Western Hemisphere, which are carried
forward in Public Law 94-571.
In view of the complexity of our immigration laws, I have prepared
this pamphlet to assist the American public in achieving a better
understanding of these laws and of the provisions contained in Public
To accomplish that objective, this document contains: a copy of
the new law; a sectional analysis; and a series of questions and answers
regarding the effect of the law.
The "question and answer" format is intended to provide the reader
with a simplified explanation of the primary purpose of, and basic
changes made by, this new law.
It is my sincere hope that this Committee print will also serve as a
valuable reference for persons interested in U.S. immigration laws
and policies and for those with relatives and friends abroad who are
seeking to immigrate to the United States.
Chairman, Subcommittee on Immigration,
Citizenship, and International Law]
Digitized by the Internet Archive
1. Public Law 94-571
Public Law 94-571
94th Congress, H.R. 14535
October 20, 1976
An Act to amend the Immigration and Nationality Act, and for other purposes
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of
America in Congress assembled, That this Act may be cited as the "Immigration
and Nationality Act Amendments of 1976".
Sec. 2. Section 201 of the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1151)
is amended — ■
(1) by striking out subsection (a) and inserting in lieu thereof the following:
"Sec. 201. (a) Exclusive of special immigrants defined in section 101(a) (27),
and immediate relatives of United States citizens as specified in subsection (b) of
this section, (1) the number of aliens born in any foreign state or dependent area
located in the Eastern Hemisphere who may be issued immigrant visas or who
may otherwise acquire the status of an alien lawfully admitted to the United
States for permanent residence, or who may, pursuant to section 203(a)(7), enter
conditionally, shall not in any of the first three quarters of any fiscal year exceed
a total of 45,000 and shall not in any fiscal year exceed a total of 170,000; and (2)
the number of aliens born in any foreign state of the Western Hemisphere or in
the Canal Zone, or in a dependent area located in the Western Hemisphere, who
may be issued immigrant visas or who may otherwise acquire the status of an
alien lawfully admitted to the United States for permanent residence, or who
may, pursuant to section 203(a)(7), enter conditionally shall not in any of the
first three quarters of any fiscal year exceed a total of 32,000 and shall not in any
fiscal year exceed a total of 120,000."; and
(2) by striking out subsections (c), (d), and (e).
Sec. 3. Section 202 of the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1152)
is amended —
(1) by striking out the last proviso in subsection (a) ;
(2) by striking out subsection (c) and inserting in lieu thereof the following:
"(c) Any immigrant born in a colony or other component or dependent area
of a foreign state overseas from the foreign state, other than a special immigrant,
as defined in section 101 (a) (27), or an immediate relative of a United States citizen,
as defined in section 201(b), shall be chargeable for the purpose of the limitations
set forth in sections 201(a) and 202(a), to the hemisphere in which such colony or
other component or dependent area is located, and to the foreign state, respectively,
and the number of immigrant visas available to each such colony or other compo-
nent or dependent area shall not exceed 600 in any one fiscal year."; and
(3) by inserting at the end thereof the following new subsection:
"(e) Whenever the maximum number of visas or conditional entries have been
made available under section 202 to natives of any single foreign state as denned
in subsection (b) of this section or any dependent area as defined in subsection
(c) of this section in any fiscal year, in the next following fiscal j*ear a number of
visas and conditional entries, not to exceed 20,000, in the case of a foreign state or
600 in the case of a dependent area, shall be made available and allocated as
"(1) Visas shall first be made available, in a number not to exceed 20 per
centum of the number specified in this subsection, to qualified immigrants
who are the unmarried sons or daughters of citizens of the United States.
, "(2) Visas shall next be made available, in a number not to exceed 20 per
centum of the number specified in this subsection, plus any visas not required
for the classes specified in paragraph (1)> to qualified immigrants who are the
spouses, unmarried sons, or unmarried daughters of an alien lawfully ad-
mitted for permanent residence.
"(3) Visas shall next be made available, in a number not to exceed 10 per
centum of the number specified in this subsection, to qualified immigrants who
are members of the professions, or who because of their exceptional ability
in the sciences or the arts will substantially benefit prospectively the na-
tional economy, cultural interests, or welfare of the United States, and whose
services in the professions, sciences, or arts are sought by an employer in the
■"(4) Visas shall next be made available, in a number not to exceed 10 per
tientum of the number specified in this subsection, plus any visas not required
for the classes specified in paragraphs (1) through (3), to qualified immigrants
who are the married sons or the married daughters of citizens of the United
"(5) Visas shall next be made available, in a number not to exceed 24 per
centum of the number specified in this subsection, plus any visas not required
for the classes specified in paragraphs (1) through (4), to qualified immigrants
who are the brothers or sisters of citizens of the United States, provided such
citizens are at least twenty-one years of age.
"(6) Visas shall next be made available, in a number not to exceed 10 per
centum of the number specified in this subsection, to qualified immigrants
capable of performing specified skilled or unskilled labor, not of a temporary
or seasonal nature, for which a shortage of employable and willing persons
exists in the United States.
"(7) Conditional entries shall next be made available by the Attorney
General, pursuant to such regulations as he may prescribe, in a number not
to exceed 6 per centum of the number specified in this subsection, to aliens
who satisfy an Immigration and Naturalization Service officer at an examina-
tion in any non-Communist or non-Communist-dominated country, (A)
that (i) because of persecution or fear of persecution on account of" race,
religion, or political opinion they have fled (I) from any Communist or
Communist-dominated country or area, or (II) from any country within the
general area of the Middle East, and (ii) are unable or unwilling to return to
buch country or area on account of race, religion, or political opinion, and (iii)
are not nationals of the countries or areas in which their application for
conditional entry is made; or (B) that they are persons uprooted by catas-
trophic natural calamity as defined by the President who are unable to
return to their usual place of abode. For the purpose of the foregoing the
term 'general area of the Middle East' means the area between and including
(1) Libya on the west, (2) Turkey on the north, (3) Pakistan on the east, and
(4) Saudi Arabia and Ethiopia on the south: Provided, That immigrant visas
in a number not exceeding one-half the number specified in this paragraph
may be made available, in lieu of conditional entries of a like number, to such
aliens who have been continuously physically present in the United States
for a period of at least two years prior to application for adjustment of status.
"(8) Visas so allocated but not requird for the classes specified in para-
graphs (1) through (7) shall be made available to other qualified immigrants
strictly in the chronological order in which they qualify.'*'.
Sec. 4. Section 203 of the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1153) is
(1) by striking out "201(a) (ii)" each place it appears in paragraphs (1)
through (7) of subsection (a) and inserting in lieu thereof in each such place
"201(a)(1) or (2)";
(2) by striking out the period at the end of paragraph (3) of subsection (a)
and inserting in lieu thereof a comma and the following: ''and whose services
in the professions, sciences, or arts arc sought by an employer in the United
(3) by striking out the period at the end of paragraph (5) of subsection (a)
and inserting in lieu thereof a comma and the following: "provided such
citizens are at least twenty-one years of age."; and
(4) by striking out the second sentence of subsection (e) and inserting in
lieu thereof the following: ''The Secretary of State shall terminate the registra-
tion of any alien who fails to apply for an immigrant visa within one year
following notification to him of the availability of such visa, but the Secretary
shall reinstate tie' registration of any suoh alien who establishes within two
- following notification of the availability of such visa that such failure
to apply was due to circumstances beyond his control. Upon such termination
the approval of any petition approved pursuant to section 204(b) shall be
Sec. 5. Section 212(a) (14) of such Act (8 U.S.C. 1182(a) (14)) is amended to
read as follows :
"(14) Aliens seeking to enter the United States, for the purpose of perform-
ing skilled or unskilled labor, unless the Secretary of Labor has determined
and certified to the Secretary of State and the Attorney General that (A) there
are not sufficient workers who are able, willing, qualified (or equally qualified
in the case of aliens who are members of the teaching profession or who have
exceptional ability in the sciences or the arts), and available at the time of
application for a visa and admission to the United States and at the place
where the alien is to perform such skilled or unskilled labor, and (B) the
employment of such aliens will not adversely affect the wages and working
conditions of the workers in the United States similarly employed. The
exclusion of aliens under this paragraph shall apply to preference immigrant
aliens described in section 203(a) (3) and (6), and to nonpreference immigrant
aliens described in section 203(a)(8);".
Sec. 6. Section 245 of the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1255)
is amended to read as follows :
"Sec. 245. (a) The status of an alien who was inspected and admitted or paroled
into the United States may be adjusted by the Attorney General, in his discretion
and under such regulations as he may prescribe, to that of an alien lawfully
admitted for permanent residence if (1) the alien makes an application for such
adjustment, (2) the alien is eligible to receive an immigrant visa and is admissible
to the United States for permanent residence, and (3) an immigrant visa is
immediately available to him at the time his application is filed.
"(b) Upon the approval of an application for adjustment made under sub-
section (a), the Attorney General shall record the alien's lawful admission for
permanent residence as of the date the order of the Attorney General approving
the application for the adjustment of status is made, and the Secretary of State
shall reduce by one the number of the preference or nonpreference visas authorized
to be issued under sections 202(e) or 203(a) within the class to which the alien is
chargeable for the fiscal year then current.
"(c) The provisions of this section shall not be applicable to (1) an alien crew-
man; (2) an alien (other than an immediate relative as defined in section 201(b))
who hereafter continues in or accepts unauthorized employment prior to filing
an application for adjustment of status; or (3) any alien admitted in transit
without visa under section 212(d)(4)(C).".
Sec. 7. (a) Section 101 (a) (27) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C.
1101(a) (27)) is amended by striking out subparagraph (A) and by redesignating
subparagraphs (B) through (E) as subparagraphs (A) through (D), respectively.
(b) Section 204 of such Act (8 U.S.C. 1154) is amended to add a new subsection
(f), to read as follows:
"(f) The provisions of this section shall be applicable to qualified immigrants
specified in paragraphs (1) through (6) of section 202(e).".
(c) Section 211(b) of such Act (8 U.S.C. 1181(b)) is amended by striking out
"section 101(a) (27) (B)" and inserting in lieu thereof "section 101 (a) (27) (A)".
(d) Section 212(a) (24) of such Act (8 U.S.C. 1182(a) (24)) is amended by
striking out "101(a) (27) (A) and (B)" and inserting in lieu thereof "101(a) (27) (A)
and aliens born in the Western Hemisphere".
(e) Section 241(a) (10) of such Act (8 U.S.C. 1251(a) (10)) is amended by striking
out the language in the parentheses and inserting in lieu thereof the following:
"other than an alien described in section 101 (a) (27) (A) and aliens born in the
(f) Section 244(d) of such Act (8 U.S.C. 1254(d)) is amended by striking out
"is entitled to special immigrant classification under section 101(a) (27) (A), or".
(g) Section 21(e) of the Act of October 3, 1965 (Public Law 89-236; 79 Stat.
921), is repealed.
Sec. 8. The Act entitled "An Act to adjust the status of Cuban refugees to that
of lawful permanent residents of the United States, and for other purposes",
approved November 2, 1966 (8 U.S.C. 1255, note), is amended by adding at the
end thereof the following new section :
"Sec. 5. The approval of an application for adjustment of status to that of
lawful permanent resident of the United States pursuant to the provisions of
section 1 of this Act shall not require the Secretary of State to reduce the number
of visas authorized to be issued in any class in the case of any alien who is physically
present in the United States on or before the effective date of the Immigration and
Nationality Act Amendments of 1976."
Sec. 9. (a) The amendments made by this Act shall not operate to affect the
entitlement to immigrant status or the order of consideration for issuance of an
immigrant visa of an alien entitled to a preference status, under section 203(a)
of the Immigration and Nationality Act, as in effect on the day before the effective
date of this Act, on the basis of a petition filed with the Attorney General prior to
such effective date.
(b) An alien chargeable to the numerical limitation contained in section 21(e) of
the Act of October 3, 1965 (79 Stat. 921), who established a priority date at a
consular office on the basis of entitlement to immigrant status under statutory
or regulatory provisions in existence on the day before the effective date of this
Act shall be deemed to be entitled to immigrant status under section 203(a)(8) of
the Immigration and Nationality Act and shall be accorded the priority date pre-
viously established by him. Nothing in this section shall be construed to preclude
the acquisition by such an alien of a preference status under section 203(a) of the
Immigration and Nationality Act, as amended by section 4 of this Act. Anj T pe-
tition filed by, or in behalf of, such an alien to accord him a preference status under
section 203(a) shall, upon approval, be deemed to have been filed as of the priority
date previously established by such alien. The numerical limitation to which such
an alien shall be chargeable shall be determined as provided in sections 201 and
202 of the Immigration and Nationality Act, as amended by this Act.
Sec. 10. The foregoing provisions of this Act, including the amendments made
by such provisions, shall become effective on the first day of the first month which
begins more than sixty days after the date of enactment of this Act.
Approved October 20, 1976.
HOUSE REPORTS: No. 94-1553 (Comm. on the Judiciary).
CONGRESSIONAL RECORD, Vol. 122 (1976):
Sept. 29, considered and passed House.
Oct. 1, considered and passed Senate.
WEEKLY COMPILATION OF PRESIDENTIAL DOCUMENTS, Vol. 12,
Oct. 21, Presidential statement.
2. Section-by-Section Analysis of Public Law 94-571
Section 1. — Popular name title.
Section 2. — Retains present limitation on Western Hemisphere
immigration of 120,000.
Section 3. — Establishes a worldwide 20,000 per-country limitation
on immigration. Increases the numerical limitation for dependent
areas from 200 to 600, and provides that visas issued shall be charge-
able both to the foreign state and to the Hemisphere in which the
dependent area is located.
Establishes a formula for distributing visas throughout the preference
system for those countries and dependencies which reach their numeri-
Section If.. — Imposes the existing preference system on the Western
Hemisphere with two exceptions: (1) a job offer is required for third
preference visa applicants; and (2) the fifth preference (brothers and
sisters of U.S. citizens) is limited to those cases where the U.S. citizens
are at least 21 years of age.
Requires the Secretary of State to terminate the registration of
any alien who fails to apply for an immigrant visa within one year
after notification of availability of the visa.
Section 5. — Removes the existing exemption from the labor certifi-
cation requirement for Western Hemisphere natives who are close
relatives of U.S. citizens and permanent resident aliens to conform
with application of preference system to the Western Hemisphere
under Section 4 of the bill.
Revises labor certification requirement as it applies to members
of the teaching profession and to those of exceptional ability in the
sciences and arts to require the Secretary of Labor to find that equally
qualified Americans must be available for the job in order to deny a
Section 6. — Allows the adjustment of status of Western Hemisphere
natives but prohibits adjustment to certain aliens who have obtained
employment in violation of their nonimmigrant status.
Section 7. — Technical and conforming amendments.
Section 8. — Provides that Cuban refugees who adjust their status
shall not be chargeable to the Western Hemisphere ceiling.
Section 9. — Provides a savings clause for Eastern Hemisphere natives
who have a priority date prior to the effective date of this bill. Provides
that Western Hemisphere aliens who have an existing priority date are
deemed eligible for nonpreference status and accords them their
previously established priority date. In the event they are able to
establish eligibility for a preference category, they are also accorded
their previously established priority date.
Section 10, — Delayed effective date.
3. Questions and Answers
(1) What is the basic purpose of the "Immigration and Nationality Act
Amendments of 1976"?
The basic purpose of the Act of October 20, 1976 is to apply the
same immigration provisions to all countries of the world and, more
specifically, to eliminate the inequities in the regulation of Western
Hemisphere immigration which inadvertently resulted from the far-
reaching 1965 amendments to the Immigration and Nationality Act.
An annual ceiling of 120,000 imposed on Western Hemisphere countries
by the 1965 amendments was not combined with the preference system
or per-country limits which regulate Eastern Hemisphere immigration
in conjunction with a 170,000 annual ceiling. As a result, in effect, the
United States has had two different immigration laws for the two
hemispheres. For example, immigrant visas have been immediately
available to natives of almost all Eastern Hemisphere countries
applying under preference categories based on family relationship.
However, because Western Hemisphere immigration has proceeded
on a first-come, first served basis, unregulated by a preference system,
Western Hemisphere natives with identical family relationships to
those permitting immediate entry for natives of Eastern Hemisphere
countries have had to wait their turn in line — now well over 2 years —
for admission under the heavily oversubscribed Western Hemisphere
The basic purpose of the 1976 amendments is to rectify this unin-
tended and grossly inequitable situation. With minor modifications
equally applicable to both hemispheres, it extends to the Western
Hemisphere the seven-category preference system, the 20,000 per-
country limit and the provisions for adjustment of status currently in
effect for Eastern Hemisphere countries.
(2) Does the new law change the existing Eastern and Western Hemisphere
No, the ceilings are unchanged: 170,000 for the Eastern Hemisphere,
and 120,000 for the Western Hemisphere. The preference system and
the per-country limits will be applied to the two hemispheres under
these separate ceilings.
(3) Does it change the number of immigrants who may enter annually
from each country?
It establishes a 20,000 per-country limit on the number of immi-
grants who may enter annually, applicable to all countries. This
represents a change for Western Hemisphere countries, which have
never before been subject to a per-country numerical limitation. A
20,000 per-country limit has been in effect for all countries in the
bem Hemisphere as a result of the 1965 amendments abolishing
the national origins quota system.
(4) What effect may the per-country limit be expected to have on immigra-
tion levels from specific Western Hemisphere countries?
Based on fiscal year 1975 figures, it will in all probability reduce the
number of admissions from Mexico. In fiscal year 1975, Mexico
accounted for 62,205 immigrants, or twice as many as any other
country in either hemisphere. Of these 20,228 were exempt from
numerical limitations, primarily because of immediate relative status
(spouse or child of a U.S. citizen, or parent of a U.S. citizen over 21),
and would be unaffected by the provisions of the new law. A total of
41,894 entered under the Western Hemisphere ceiling; under the new
law, this latter figure would be limited to 20,000.
The concept of a "special relationship" between this country and
certain other countries as a basis for our immigration law has been
rejected, by both the Executive and Legislative Branches of Govern-
ment in favor of a uniform treatment for all countries.
(5) Why was Western Hemisphere immigration previously unregulated
by the preference system and per-country limits?
The abolition of the national origins quota system was the primary
purpose of the 1965 legislation, and this emphasis accounts in large
part for the limited consideration given to the actual implementation
of the Western Hemisphere ceiling during the 1965 debate. It was not
expected that the demand would so far exceed supply under the
the 120,000 ceiling. Thus the inequitable consequences which have
resulted from first-come, first-served visa allocation were not antici-
pated. Furthermore, in addition to establishing a ceiling to go into
effect July 1, 1968, the 1965 act also established a Select Commission
on Western Hemisphere Immigration, charged with the responsibility
of recommending "whether, and if so how, numerical limitations should
be imposed upon immigration to the United States from the nations
of the Western Hemisphere." The Select Commission's recommenda-
tion that the effective date of the ceiling be delayed for a year in order
to allow time for further study was not acted on, and the 120,000
ceiling went into effect on July 1, 1968.
(6) What changes are made in the preference categories?
Changes are made in the third and fifth preference categories only.
The third preference category is modified to limit it to those mem-
bers of the professions, scientists, and artists whose services are sought
by employers in the United States. Previously, members of the profes-
sions, scientists and artists could petition for third preference entry on
the basis of their qualifications, without the need for a prospective em-
ployer. The fifth preference category is modified to require that U.S.
citizens be 21 or over in order to petition for the fifth preference entry
of their siblings. Previously, there was no age requirement for the
petitioning U.S. citizens.
The modified preference system is as follows :
First preference (unmarried sons and daughters over 21 of U.S.
citizens) : 20 percent of the respective hemispheric limitation in
any fiscal year;
Second preference (spouses and unmarried sons and daughters
of aliens lawfully admitted for permanent residence) : 20 percent
of the limitation, plus any numbers not required for first pref-
Third preference (members of the professions or persons of
exceptional ability in the sciences and arts whose services are
sought by U.S. employers): 10 percent of the limitation;
Fourth preference (married sons and daughters of U.S. citi-
zens) : 10 percent of the limitation, plus any numbers not required
by the first three preference categories;
Fifth preference (brothers and sisters of U.S. citizens 21 or
over) : 24 percent of the limitation, plus any numbers not required
by the first four preference categories;
Sixth preference (skilled and unskilled workers in short supply) :
10 percent of the limitation;
Seventh preference (refugees): 6 percent of the limitation;
Xonpreference (other immigrants) : numbers not used by the
seven preference categories.
Labor certification is required equally of third, sixth, and non-
preference applicants from both hemispheres. (See question 13
regarding labor certification.)
(7) How does the new law change the way in which the perference system
is applied to individual countries?
Under previous law, the percentages allotted annually to each
preference category were applicable only on a hemisphere-wide basis,
and not to the individual countries. That is, within the 20,000 per-
country limit, visas were distributed to applicants from each country
on a first-come, first-served basis according to preference priority.
The 1976 amendments provide that, in addition to being applicable on
a hemisphere-wide basis, visa percentage allotments for preference
categories will also be applicable to any country or dependent area to
which the maximum number of visas were made available in the
This provision would not increase or decrease the total number of
visas available to those countries to which it applied ; nor is it intended
to require the issuance of the total number of immigrant visas (20,000)
available to such country. Its purpose is to insure a fairer distribution
of visas under the preference system for those countries whose overall
visa demand regularly exceeds the number available, or for those
with a particularly high demand for visas under a specific preference
(8) What changes are made regarding the entry of immigrants J rum the
colonies and dependencies oj other count/
The annual allotment for natives of colonies or dependent areas is
increased from 200 to 600. Visas made available to the dependencies
will continue to be charged as subquotas to the per-country limit of
the mother country, as in the past. However, the now law provides
that they will henceforth be charged to the ceiling of the hemisphere
where the dependencies are located, instead of the hemisphere of the
(9) Does the new legislation address the problem of illegal a& I
\ 68, it contains a provision aimed at deterring tourists, foreign
students, and other nonimmignmN from working illegally. Aliens who
have entered the country legally as Donimrnigrants and who have,
subsequently violated the terms of their admission l>y accepting
unauthorized employment are prohibited from changing their status
to that of permanent resident alien under the adjustment of status
provisions of the law. The only exception allowed is for aliens who are
immediate relatives of U.S. citizens.
(10) Mliat other changes are made regarding adjustment of status?
Under the adjustment of status provision, certain aliens legally in
the United States are permitted to adjust to immigrant or permanent
resident status without leaving the country. Under the 1965 amend-
ments, this privilege was limited to natives of Eastern Hemisphere
countries. The 1976 act restores adjustment of status eligibility to
Western Hemisphere aliens as well. This provision is in keeping with
the legislative goal of providing equal treatment to all individuals
regardless of their place of birth.
In addition to prohibiting adjustment of status by aliens who have
accepted unauthorized employment (see question 9) , the amendments
disqualify from adjustment those aliens who have been admitted in
transit without visa. The latter provision confirms existing adminis-
(11) Will Cuban refugees who adjust their status still be chargeable to
the Western Hemisphere ceiling?
Cuban refugees who are present in the United States and henceforth
adjust their status to that of permanent residents will no longer be
charged to the 120,000 Western Hemisphere ceiling. This amendment
has long been recommended, primarily on the grounds that this special
humanitarian program of the United States Government should not
be conducted at the expense of other Western Hemisphere countries,
as has been the case.
[In a statement released September 16, 1976, the Attorney General
announced that Cuban refugees in the United States who adjust their
status will no longer be chargeable to the Western Hemisphere ceiling.
This decision, based on an opinion of the Office of Legal Counsel in
the Department of Justice, represents a departure from administrative
practice since 1968. The Committee believes that legislation is appro-
(12) Will total immigration increase under the new law?
There will be a temporary increase, reflecting the exemption from
chargeability to the Western Hemisphere ceiling of Cuban refugees
adjusting to immigrant status. There are approximately 60,000
pending applications for adjustment by Cuban refugees. Apart from
this temporary and limited increase, the new law will not increase
(13) What is labor certification, and how will it be changed under the
The labor certification provision set forth in Section 212(a) (14) of
the Immigration and Nationality Act is intended to protect the domes-
tic labor force. That section provides for the excludability of certain
categories of aliens unless the Secretary of Labor issues a certification
indicating (1) that there are not sufficient U.S. workers who are
"able, willing, qualified, and available" in the alien's occupational
category and (2) that the alien's employment will not adversely affect
the wages and working conditions of similarly situated American
workers. This legislation retains the labor certification provision with
minor modification and extends it equally to third and sixth and
nonpreference applicants from both hemispheres.
The new law also includes an amendment to the provision requiring
the Secretary of Labor to determine that "equally qualified" American
workers are available in order to deny a labor certification for mem-
bers of the teaching profession or for those who have exceptional
ability in the arts and sciences. This amendment will assist colleges
and universities which have been impeded in their efforts to acquire
outstanding educators or faculty members as the result of an overly
rigid interpretation of the law as it pertains to research scholars and
exceptional members of the teaching profession.
(14) What effect will the new law have on those currently waiting in line
for admission under the Western Hemisphere ceiling?
The preference system will go into effect for the Western Hemi-
sphere immediately upon the effective date of this legislation (January
1, 1977), in conjunction with a savings clause aimed at preserving
the entitlement to immigrant status for all aliens who filed and were
eligible for admission under the provisions of law previously regulating
Western Hemisphere immigration. More specifically, all Western
Hemisphere aliens found eligible for immigrant status prior to the
effective date of the new law are automatical^ eligible for non-
preference entry, and accorded their previously established priority
dates. They are further entitled, if eligible, to preference status under
one of the seven preference categories. Those eligible under the higher
preferences will receive visas in advance of those entering under the
nonpreference category, even though the latter may have earlier
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